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PRINT October 1998

film

Todd Solondz’s Happiness

THE EXPERIENCE OF CONFRONTING a work of art ideally disorganizes ones systems. Therefore it is difficult, as a critic, to organize one’s responses. Here again I display my disarray not out of careless disregard for common sense and the rules of exposition; rather, I write in a disjunct mode because Happiness, a film by Todd Solondz, has disorganized me.

Rule no. 1 of criticism: Always blame the artifact.

Happiness is one of those philosophical categories, strict and unfathomable, on which life depends but which no one understands and which no one has patented. Few have it, many want it; its elusiveness dominates.

One is authorized, in journalism, to consider a subject only if it is topical. Happiness is topical because Happiness is scheduled to be released this month after its subjects, which include pedophilia, homicide, dismemberment, vaginal and anal rape, masturbation, and suicide, caused

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